Companies rush to Taiwan to fill supply boots

Reports are emerging that technology companies who previously depended on supply for Japan are rushing to Taiwanese firms in light of the earthquake.

Chinese based LCD TV manufacturers are likely to purchase a total of $5 billion worth of TV panels from Taiwan-based makers in 2011. It is thought large orders will start pouring in around June, according to DigiTimes. 

The Taiwan Economic News is reporting that a range of domestic hi-tech firms have received rush orders. Companies rushing for supplies include Fulltech Fiber Glass Corp, which has made a panic buy of fibre glass yarn, while Powercom  has  received orders for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) at “several times the normal level”.

Given the warnings of short supplies of silicon wafers and components it also comes as no surprise that companies are scrambling to Taiwan to get their fill, just as supply gets worse.

This is despite companies based in Japan attempting to reassure their clients that it’s business as usual. Yesterday Qualcomm released a statement telling its customers they shouldn’t worry.

It said that it had carried out a review of its extended semiconductor supply chain and did not “foresee any significant impact in our ability to supply product to our customers due to the events in Japan.”

It added that the company had “multiple, geographically diverse sources for supply as well as production processes specifically designed to enable us to mitigate disruptions in our supply chain.”

And it continued with its reassurance, saying the availability of Bismaleimide Triazine (BT) resin is OK, the stuff it uses, either BT-based or epoxy-based laminate materials, in its chipset packages.

“To account for any potential disruption in BT supply, we believe our use of buffer stock and adjustments to our near term material mix will enable us to mitigate potential supply disruptions to our customer base,” it concluded.

Many are rushing to Taiwanese Formosa Sumco Technology Corp, for the supply of silicon wafers. It has said that it will not play on the tragedy and will keep prices the same.

Powertech Technology and Walton Advanced Engineering are also rushing to boost their capacities by pushing for advanced deliveries in a bid to meet the urgent demand for support of Elpida.

Companies are also turning to Taiwan to get their fill of IC assembly and lithium batteries for notebook PCs. The latter is because Sony and Toshiba have both closed plants that made these in Japan, which has benefitted Taiwanese suppliers, such as Simplo Technology, which has has received orders for NB PC battery modules from Japanese clients.

Taiwan is also taking increased orders of aluminium electrolytic capacitors, due to the uncertainty concerning the damage on the facilities of Murat and other Japanese major suppliers.

In the wake of the quake, ON Semiconductor has issued an update to its production facilities in Japan.

It said in a statement that its Aizu wafer fab had no power failure and minimal physical damage. However there would be a temporary shutdown of operations. The Niigata wafer fab fared better and is still working as is the Gifu wafer fab.

The company said its Gunma wafer fab had however reported power failure and minimal physical damage and as a result infrastructure disruptions were now expected to result in a temporary shutdown of operations.

The Kasukawa and Hanyu back-end factories, despite reporting power failure and minimal physical damage were also in operation.